City of Woodinville seeks input on Climate Action Plan
On March 7, the Woodinville City Council held its first of four meetings with Cascadia Consulting Group, a firm the city is working with to draft its Climate Action Plan (CAP).
Last year, the city adopted its first 5-year Strategic Plan, during which it called for the creation of a CAP in the 2023/24 biennium.
“[The CAP] will offer a suite of different strategies and actions related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and as well as identifying opportunities to increase climate resilience,” said Gretchen Muller, a Cascadia Consulting project manager working with the city, during the March 7 meeting. “Actions that address both of those are really critical to a successful plan.”
In 2021, all 39 King County cities established a shared greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030 and 95% by 2050. These targets are roughly in line with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) projections, which say we must halve global emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 to stave off the most severe effects of climate change on human and environmental systems.
Federal, state and regional policies already in place are projected to lead to reductions in emissions in the city and wider county, but not enough to achieve the county’s targets.
“Although the overall emissions are going down over time, Woodinville is still not able to meet its emissions reductions targets with what’s coming through our pre-existing policies,” Muller said.
Last September, the Woodinville City Council accepted a grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce to fund its CAP. The grant requires the city to adopt a final draft by the end of June.
Since beginning the project in January, the city has taken stock of the community’s greenhouse gas emissions and created future emissions projections based on different courses of action.
According to the Puget Sound Regional Emissions Analysis, the city emitted 223,392 metric tons of CO2 in 2019. Muller said that Woodinville has higher per capita greenhouse gas emissions than most cities in the county because of the higher consumption of natural gas in the city’s commercial and industrial sectors.
As they draft the plan, the city and consulting group will interview representatives from the Woodinville Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, 21 Acres and the Northshore School District to determine what actions to suggest.
“Given the short timeline, we have to be very strategic in what we can get done in the six months available,” said Assistant to the City Manager Kevin O’Neill in the March 7 meeting.
City Councilmember Michelle Evans raised concerns about the equitability of the input the city will receive, particularly with regard to businesses, given the short timeline.
“A retail business is going to have a really different perspective than a winery, is going to have a different perspective than a restaurant,” Evans said. “So I just want to make sure that we’re getting all of our business community’s involvement there.”
In an interview with the Weekly, O’Neill said the city has since revised its plan based on Evans’ concerns and hopes to gather business leaders from all sectors with the help of the Chamber of Commerce to receive direct input on the CAP.
“The delicate thing here is that the City of Woodinville … there's only so much that we can control,” O’Neill said. “We can't make some of these big sweeping changes that states or the federal government can.”
All community members and business leaders are also highly encouraged to give their input on the CAP, O’Neill said, through an online survey on the city website and virtual open house, which will be held sometime in April or May.
“We want to get as many people as possible,” O’Neill said. “It would be a great way to share their insight.”
He also noted that while the CAP will be completed by the end of June, the city’s climate and environmental policies can still be reevaluated later.
“Any plan that the city does realistically is a living document,” he said. “As the picture becomes even more clear of what we need to do, we'll make adjustments.”
To take the online survey, visit surveymonkey.com/r/WoodinvilleCAP. Also see ci.woodinville.wa.us/473/Climate-Action-Plan to learn more about the Woodinville Climate Action Plan.
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